Typical Student Cuts 100 Classes Annually
A new study of absenteeism by University of Oregon researchers has found that a "typical" urban student cuts an average of two to four classes a week, adding up to more than 100 missed classes--or 18 full days--in a 36-week school year.
According to the study, the students selectively choose to cut those classes that they consider "boring" or "too easy," and are not deterred by school penalties, which generally are too lenient or inadequately enforced.
A draft of an interim report on the two-year study, begun in December 1983 by researchers John de Jung and Kenneth Duckworth, was distributed this month at a conference of the Council of the Great City Schools in Pittsburgh. The study involves six high schools from two urban school districts in the western part of the United States.
Initial results from the study are scheduled to appear in the next issue of "R&D Perspectives," a publication of the Center for Educational Policy and Management at the University of Oregon.
The study includes data from district records and interviews with key administrators, teachers, and students. Nearly 8,000 students and 350 teachers responded.
According to Mr. de Jung, "cutting" is widespread and, if corrected, could lead to a dent in the dropout problem. "There's a very strong relationship between being absent and failing," he said.
The report notes that "nearly half of all high-absence students had grade-point-averages of 1.5 or lower, accounting for 84 percent of all gpa's below 1.5 in the six schools."